Crozier lands ITV CEO role

From Colin Mann in London

One of the longest-running broadcasting appointments sagas has been resolved with the news that Adam Crozier, currently Chief Executive of Royal Mail Group, is to take over as Chief Executive of ITV later this year. Crozier also worked for advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi from 1988, becoming joint chief executive in 1995, and was chief executive of the English Football Association from 2000 to 2002.

The UK commercial broadcaster had been seeking to make an appointment since the then Executive Chairman and CEO Michael Grade announced in April 2009 that he was to relinquish the roles. Talks with former BSkyB chief Tony Ball broke down in September 2009 as a result of Ball's pay demands. Ball had been arguing for a five-year cash and shares bonus scheme, similar to packages created by private equity firms, that could have netted him up to £30 million were he to succeed in more than doubling ITV's value. This would have been on top of an anticipated £1 million a year salary.

Research for ITV’s Tonight programme, broadcast during a postal strike in November 2009, suggested that Crozier received £995,000 in pay and bonuses in the financial year 2008/9, made up of £633,000 in salary, £139,000 in bonuses, £17,000 in further benefits and £206,000 as a cash supplement in place of a pension payment. He has banked £2.4 million in performance bonuses and £3.6 million in pay since taking over as chief executive in 2003. The latest annual total of £995,000 makes him the second-highest earning public servant behind Channel 4 director of television and content Kevin Lygo on £1.14 million. It is likely that an extremely attractive package was offered by ITV to secure Crozier's services.

Former MP and supermarket chain boss Archie Norman took up the role of Non Executive Chairman at the start of 2010, with Grade standing down from the company and COO John Cresswell becoming Interim Chief Executive. Norman stepped up the hunt for Grade's successor on assuming his role. Cresswell will continue as Interim CEO, but is expected to leave the company on Crozier's arrival.

Norman said that ITV was a strong brand with talented people, facing an imperative for change as the media landscape evolved, and described Crozier as a very strong leader with a great track record in delivering transformational change, who had worked successfully in talent-driven organisations, with government and regulators, and had a thorough understanding of the media, advertising and branding industries. “His task is to bring together the skills and talent within ITV to drive the business on its strategic journey,” he added.

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